Diabetes and Poor Circulation
PAD-peripheral arterial disease- is a term used to describe poor circulation in the legs and feet. PAD usually involves the large and medium-sized arteries of the lower extremities. Diabetes also affects the small arteries of the skin and capillaries, called microangiopathy. It is a well documented in the medical literature that high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) causes plaque buildup in the arteries resulting in narrowing of the blood vessels.
There are many distinctive signs and symptoms of circulation problems in the diabetic foot. When the foot is elevated above the level if the heart, the toes may turn pale, but as soon as you stand up, the toes may turn dusky and bluish. This sign is characteristic of arterial problems. The skin of the foot and the leg may be smooth, shiny and paper thin. The toenails may be brittle and yellowish. The foot is cool and clammy to touch and pulses in the foot are absent. Occasionally, you may have pulses in the foot at rest, but disappears during or after exercise. If one foot is cold than the other, it is more significant than both feet being cold. Loss of hair on the toes, top of the foot and lower leg may be present. The muscles of the thigh and the leg may become smaller due to insufficient blood supply.
In some cases, you may have a condition called intermittent claudication which is described as pain and cramping of the thigh and/or leg muscles after walking a certain distance. The pain and cramping is gradually relieved by discontinuing the walking and massaging the leg. In an advanced stage of disease, you can actually develop a spontaneous skin ulcer in the foot and no signs of bleeding may be seen in the ulcer. This is called ischemic ulcer and it can be very painful. However, in the diabetic ulcer can be painless due to the presence of neuropathy.
The symptoms of the arterial disease may alert a podiatrist or an experienced physician conduct appropriate diagnostic tests. The Doppler test measures the blood pressure of the arm and the foot of which the ratio provides important information regarding healing capacity of the foot wound.
Once you are diagnosed as having arterial disease in your feet, you need to understand what the consequence can be from having this significant problem. The amputation rate in people with diabetes is fifteen times that in the non-diabetic population. Initial skin lesion, whether it’s a blister, corn or callus, occurs in painless neuropathic foot. However, it is the arterial circulation problem that hinders these foot lesions from healing. The neuropathy, impaired blood circulation and infection make the diabetic people very susceptible to crisis leading to foot amputation. Regular exercise becomes important in your ability to form collateral blood circulation. When you have enough collateral
Avoiding diabetic foot problems
1 Regular exercise including walking circulation
2 Inspect your feet daily-looking for blisters, corns, calluses, thickened toenails or ingrown toenails
3 Moisture your feet on a regular basis since people with diabetes often has dry, thin skin
4 Never use acid plasters or medications that are used to remove corns, calluses or warts
5 Never self-treat foot problems-foot problems such as corns, calluses, ingrown toenails fungal toenails should be treated by a podiatrist
6 Wear sensible shoes that are fitted properly to your feet.